The last couple months I have gotten to do a little writing for a local publication, Saline County Lifestyles. I honestly originally inquired about it trying to build my resume for another writing job I was pursuing and later got (however a year later it's still in "the works" ... Whatevs.), but have ended up enjoying my small bi-monthly gig at SCL. Anyway, I've loved getting to write little light-hearted pieces for the magazine and make a little extra moolah too, wha-whoo! :)
Since I am extremely disorganized in this season of life and tend to lose a lot of things, I thought I'd tack them on the blog so that I'd have them if I ever want to look back.
In the October/ November issue I wrote about a subject near and "deer" to my heart ... My Deer-Widowhood.
Growing up in Arkansas, hunting is something we almost expect from our men, it’s part of our culture. Nearly all of the guys in my family have always been hunters, and most of our friends as well; I thought I knew what to expect. However, after marrying one of Saline County’s most prominent hunters, I entered a new world. My outdoor loving, monster-buck slaying, greenhead shooting hubby takes his hunting very seriously; it’s not just a hobby, it’s a way of life. If he’s not knee deep in flooded timber or hidden in a tree himself, he’s watching TV about someone who is. I, as his wife, have learned it’s better to embrace the sport rather that nag him to death about going. I’ve tried that way too many times, and it only results in him packing more quickly.
I was raised in a house full of girls who my dad thought were more like cats, he claims that all we did was sit around inside and groom ourselves. Thankfully, my husband has broadened my horizons and has made sure to help me experience new things. I still don’t sport camouflage, but I can cook a mean deer chili, watch The Duck Commander when I’m home alone and with my bow can shoot a quartering away 160 inch 10 point at 42.7 yards … Okay, Okay I made that last part up. I don’t actually hunt myself, but this time of year I’m tempted to in order to spend some quality time with the hubs. A girl’s gotta do, what a girl’s gotta do.
I started out our early married days almost having my feelings hurt when I was abandoned so he could go sit for hours in tree, covered in doe pee and face paint. How could I come in second place to that? What happened to date nights filled with long talks about our feelings, alone time, and wine-ing and dining? If you’re a hunting widow newbie and this is starting to sound vaguely familiar, let me give you a few pointers.
After a couple years of dreading the upcoming season, I now have started to enjoy it. I love being able to go and do without being asked how long I’m going to be gone or how much I spent when I finally return home. My mom and two sisters are all quite the hunting widows themselves, and we enjoy having the girl time together. We spend plenty of leisurely Saturdays perusing the aisles of Target, the dressing rooms at Express Your Self and indulging in the yummy hummus at Layla’s; none of which are on my husband’s favorite weekend hot spots. We watch lots of romantic comedies and cook up fabulous menus that our spouses tend to turn up their noses while watching the Saturday football game at home. I don’t think it’s a coincidence the annual Harvest Moon craft show is held this time of year either. The wonderful treats and craft booths bring women from all over, and their men are likely to be less than thrilled about attending.
Ironically, I’ve discovered my hunter is more than happy to spend time during the week doing fun outings in exchange for a weekend away. And Saline County has plenty of fall fun! We look forward to Fall Fest and even love visiting Mary’s pumpkin patch and seeing all the cute kiddie activities she has year after year. It’s always hard to make a decision with which mums and flowers to decorate my front porch. She never fails to have the tastiest fresh veggies that go wonderfully in whatever game stew he wants to cook when he brings home his kill. If you just marinate the meat over night and cook it down in a stew for several hours the next day, you can almost pretend it’s beef… almost. Plus, for some reason the hunter at my house is all about cooking when it’s something he’s killed himself, so having all the fixin’s on hand is crucial in order to get out of kitchen duty for the night, it’s totally worth it!
Between all the time and money these hunters spend on their weekend adventures, I’m usually due a little splurging here or there myself- being left home alone with three kids under four, I’ve earned it. I have definitely learned to play the system and right about the time he starts explaining to me how the water levels are ideal and temperatures are leading to prime hunting conditions for the upcoming weekend, also happens to be the perfect time to bring up the new pair of boots I just found at DSW. Marriage is about compromise after all, so maybe being a hunting widow isn’t so bad … as long as you know how to work it to your benefit.
I know lots of women love to hunt too, and maybe when I don’t have so many little ones at home I’ll join him in the deer stand. But for now I think I’ll sleep in and then head out to stimulate the economy, while he and the rest of the outdoorsmen work on bringing in dinner.
And for the December issue I wrote about Holiday Fashion "Do's and Don't" per the editors request. I am by all means a wannabe fashionista, and lately have caught myself interested more in the mom-ish Lands End catalogue versus In Style magazine ... so please, give me some grace- ha!
When holiday invites start filling up the mailbox, it means it’s that time of year again- time to party. Glancing through my wardrobe, I notice that most pieces of clothing are playdate-ready … meaning, ready to chase down a runaway toddler through a park or rescue one from the very top of tunnels at Chuck E. Cheese. But, a special, small portion of my closet is designated to sparkle. I love any excuse to get gussied up, and the holidays usually offer several opportunities. Whether a private cocktail soiree, or a corporate event, the chance to trade in my UGG boots for a pair of glittering pumps is always welcome.
This season it seems as if anything goes; the more eclectic the better from color block styles, to animal print, and as always, that classic little black dress. I tend to choose quantity over quality, shh … don’t tell. I’m pretty sure that’s against most fashionista’s advice. I always see articles telling you the ten things your closet needs for an upcoming season … but who wants to wear the same ten things all the time? Not me. I do try to invest in good shoes, purses and denim … that’s about it. I like to have lots of fun tops and little dresses that I can alternate without wearing that same black dress to every party I’m invited to. In my shopping budget that means lots of trips to Forever 21 and even Target. I don’t want to drop a lot of money on a memorable dress that as soon as I’ve posted a picture on Facebook, I’m not going to want to wear again. Can I get an Amen?
That being said, here are some “Do’s and Dont’s” for this Holiday season.
DO: Be prepared. Don’t let yourself get to the day of your event trying to run to the mall to find something to wear. Party planning isn’t just for the hostess; go ahead and be planning a few ensembles with items in your closet. You never know how a new belt or wrap will make to a dress you wore the year before, so be on the lookout for a fun clutch or scarf- accessories can make all the difference!
DON’T: Wear a sweatshirt with a holiday greeting on it (Unless you are under five, or over 65). That’s what Christmas cards are for.
DO: Make sure it’s a great fit. A little bit of money on alterations can make all the difference. Find a great seamstress who can make sure everything fits well and you’ll be more comfortable, plus look better. It’s a win-win.
DON’T: Give too much away. You know who I’m talking to, ladies. Don’t believe the lie that you need a deep neck line or a short hem to be sexy, especially if you’re at an office event. I love the line, ” Your dresses should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady.”
DO: Step out of your comfort zone a little, it’s the holidays! Be bold with a fun print of plaid or polka dots, or if you want to stay in the black and white family, maybe jazz it up a little with a fun neckline or one shoulder dress that are so on trend this season. I also love all the sparkle and bling on flats right now. It’s an easy way to put a pep in your step without being too exciting for the conservative fashionista out there. If you want to get a little more edgy, add a pair of dressy shorts and tights with your favorite heels for a little more out of the box look. I keep thinking I’m going to be bold enough to try this trend myself. We’ll see.
DON’T: Over accessorize. While statement necklaces and stacks of bangles are super hot right now, there can be too much of a good thing, don’t go crazy.
DO: Spice up your make up. Maybe it’s not in your budget for a whole new outfit, but perhaps just head over to the drug store and get a great new lipstick and some false eye lashes. Finding a perfect red lipstick can become an accessory in and of itself, when paired with a great black dress or ensemble it can be the perfect finishing touch. There are lots of fun tutorials on the internet on how to do a professional makeup style like the tricky smoky eye- don’t be intimidated, you just might like it!
DON’T forget about DIY. Even NBC’s The Today Show has started segments on how to put your own spin on accessories and clothing. Scour Pinterest and DIY blogs on how to put a personal and updated touch to pieces you already have for a low budget fix!
Most of all be comfortable. Even if it’s vogue, but you don’t feel like yourself in it, you won’t be confident, and that’s the most important thing. All in all, the Holidays are about being with your family and friends and celebrating the real reason for the season. But, there’s no reason you can’t look great while doing it. Happy Shopping!
So there you have it ... I'm big-time now, try to keep cool around me. ;)